Wednesday, July 23, 2014

places to go

Columbia River Gorge
This year, Mom came for her three-week-long visit with a list of places she wanted to go and things she wanted to do, plus two friends from Maine. Our friends stayed for two weeks and returned home yesterday. Here are just a few of the places we went and things we saw together.

Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show 
International Rose Test Garden
Japanese Garden
Cannon Beach 
Tillamook Creamery 

McMenamin's Kennedy School 
Beaverton Bakery - Mom likes Butter Crisps for breakfast!
Chinese Garden
Mom is here until next week, so we're still running around. She's made another list of things she wants to do while she's still here. That's why I haven't been blogging much this month. We have had fun, but I will soon be ready to retreat to a very secluded place for at least a week-- the break I really needed after spending two months writing my book.  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Stunning! Barbara Shapel at Latimer Quilt & Textile Center

"Autumn Beauty" (front) by Barbara Shapel
The first time I saw the work of contemporary fiber artist Barbara Shapel, one of her creations was hanging at the Northwest Quilting Expo with a Best of Show ribbon on it. The funny thing was, the quilt was displayed backwards, and we were all looking at the back side of the quilt rather than the front-- but that is how extraordinary Shapel's work is. The backs of the quilts are as stunning as the fronts.

Shapel is currently exhibiting at Latimer Quilt and Textile Center until September 7th, 2014, and the exhibit is a must-see! I went with my mother, and Robin and Bill Carter, our friends from Maine. All of us were absolutely flabbergasted by Shapel's gorgeous creations.

More information about Barbara Shapel and her exquisite fiber art work may be found on her web site: Latimer Quilt & Textile Center is located at 2105 Wilson River Loop Road in Tillamook. The center is open most days, and you may find more information on their web site- click here.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Oregon July

My quilt, "Oregon July" was part of the ManLand special exhibit at Sisters
The 39th Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show was a huge success, and after missing last year's show, I was delighted to be back. This year, I noticed something very intriguing about the quilts in the show. Modern Quilting had arrived, unmistakably!

I was happy to be part of it in my own way. My quilt, "Oregon July" was in the ManLand special exhibit of mens' quilts, and I conceived it as a work of modern art, its beauty materializing in an unexpected and unpredictable way. I'm sure most people walked by without discovering what was so interesting about the quilt, and I was amused by that. You have to work to figure it out, and that was fully intended.

The quilt is about visiting Oregon for the first time in July, 1998, and being completely undone by all the bright colors and bigness of the landscape. It is also about falling in love with Oregon and discovering its secret beauty. One of the things I love about the quilt is the gentle way it conveys its message. It doesn't have to yell, "I'm art!" or "I'm a Modern quilt!" from the hilltops. Its hidden beauty must be discovered, just like that of Oregon.

"Oregon July" reverse view - quilted by Jolene Knight
From the front, the quilt is big patchwork, and it looks like many of the pieced quilt backs seen today. The patchwork represents the big, bold Oregon landscape. If you pause and look at it long enough, you'll realize there's something unusual about the quilting design. It is not edge-to-edge, computer guided, quilting-- it is varied, hand-guided, free-motion quilting.

The solid green back reveals the quilt's secret, a landscape drawing of Oregon with Mt. Hood, Trillium Lake, the reflection of Mt. Hood in the lake, a fish jumping from the water, foliage, grass, a tree, a tree stump, and a blazing sun spiraling above the terrain. Jolene Knight of Good Knight Quilts, a native Oregonian who is relatively new at long-arm quilting, created the drawing, providing a stunning finish for the quilt.

Jolene is a member of Portland Modern Quilt Guild and the Northwest Quilters, and we saw each other at one of the meetings as the deadline for Sisters was approaching. The long-arm quilter I  worked with previously had been hospitalized with chronic pain, and the last thing she needed to worry about was my quilt, so I asked Jolene if she could do it. She was ready.

Not long after the meeting, I drove to bring Jolene the top, which was still in a few pieces, and started to wonder if we could do something special with it. I wanted the quilt to be about falling in love with Oregon, and I thought it would be amazing if she could draw a free-motion landscape over the entire quilt. We talked about it for a long time, and she really got it. Creatively and technically, it was something new for her, but she was up for the challenge and very inspired by the idea.

The quilt was done in about a week, and Jolene brought it to the Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting the night I was doing a presentation about 1970s quilts. When I saw what she had done, it brought tears to my eyes. It was even better than I'd ever imagined, but at the same time, exactly what I'd hoped it would be. The way Jolene rose to the challenge was inspiring, as was the end result.

Niagara Park, where we stopped for lunch on the way to and from Sisters
So, that is the story of Oregon July, my entry in the 39th Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. I hope to exhibit the quilt again in the future, and maybe have the front and back visible at the same time. Many thanks to Jolene for a job well done, and to all the volunteers in Sisters for another tremendous event. Mom loved being there, and so did our friends Bill and Robin Carter from Maine. On the way to and from Sisters, we stopped at Niagara Park, one of those places where you can discover the remarkable hidden beauty of Oregon.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tim Latimer Does it Again!

Vintage 1930s New York Beauty top, hand quilted by Tim Latimer
It was a lot of fun seeing Tim Latimer's progress as he was finishing this vintage New York Beauty top. The phenomenal, hand-quilting lefty from Lansing, Michigan wrote about the project from start to finish in his very popular blog at It was the second top he finished for me, and actually the fifth piece of his work I have acquired. I also have a small quilt from the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, a large fans variant set like a New York Beauty, another small quilt made from leftovers of the fans quilt, and the other vintage top he hand quilted for me.

On June 6th, he posted a blog entry about remaking this scrappy, yellow, blue and white New York Beauty top to reduce the distortion and get it to flatten out for quilting. On July 1st, it was finished. Tim wasn't just lightning-quick, though. His work is absolutely beautiful, and he created an original design especially for the quilt! It is the last quilt I will send to my publishers, Quiltmania in France, for my book about New York Beauty quilts. So, if you want to learn more about it, you will eventually be able to find details in the book. Stay tuned... ;)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

One-of-a-Kind 1970s Crazy Quilt

This magnificent, one-of-a-kind 1970s Crazy Quilt just arrived from a seller in Florida, and I was pretty speechless when I opened it. Teddy Pruett found the quilt in a local antiques shop, and when I followed-up, it was luckily still available.

It has a wide variety of fabrics, some synthetics, cottons, bandana, and even some red and white checked tablecloth. The quilt is two-layers, pieced and appliquéd, with feather stitching in black embroidery floss around each patch. That's all the information I have right now..haven't measured it yet but it's large. Here are some pictures. Enjoy!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Thanks, Mom!

This charming quilt just arrived yesterday. It was a gift from Mom. Thanks, Mom! A friend of hers in Maine had some quilts, and this one happened to be available. The design looks a little like ice cream cones, but is actually a pattern known as "Nosegay". For those who were born after a certain time, a nosegay is a small bouquet of flowers, typically one that is sweet scented.

I have seen the design before, but not too often. This quilt is an especially appealing example. Bouquets are placed in rows, and the rows of bouquets face opposite directions alternating by row.

There is not much space between the bouquets, which contributes to the liveliness of the overall design. Each bouquet is appliquéd on to the block, and although the block sizes vary slightly, the average size is 8 & 1/2 inches square.

It appears the quilt was made sometime in the early part of the 20th century, probably around the 1930s. The quilt includes a wonderful assortment of small-scale prints, mostly soft colors, and possibly a few feedsack prints. Love the quilt, and it joins a group of quilts I have with repeat patterns. Some day I will exhibit them as a group. :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

what now?

Now that I have sent most of the contents of the book to the publishers two and a half months ahead of schedule, friends have asked what I would do with myself, since I have all this free time on my hands.


Plenty! There's still much to be done. I started writing out a list but that started to become another task, so I laughed at myself and stopped. Best I can say is "lots going on" and "stay tuned..."

OK, off to the post office to send a very special package to a very special person... :)